UK house prices continue to accelerate increasing by 7.9% in the year to January, up from 6.7% in December.
Prices were driven by 8.6% growth in England, spearheaded by the South-East at 11.7%, London at 10.8% and the East at 9.8%.
Prices rose just 0.1% in Scotland, 0.8% in Northern Ireland and fell 0.3% in Wales, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Adrian Gill, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains, said there is not enough supply of housing to match soaring demand.
“This is powering a sellers’ purchase market and a landlords’ rental market.
“Faced with this dilemma, investment in property is a rational response, and has been proving extremely lucrative."
Stephen Smith, director, Legal & General Housing Partnerships, said house prices are likely to continue their steady upward march unless Britain can address the lack of supply.
"The gap between supply and demand is pumping up prices and making affordability an impossible dream for many, especially in London and the South East.”
Jeremy Leaf, a former RICS chairman and north London estate agent, said figures from Rightmove earlier this week showed an increase in the supply of properties coming to market.
Many are looking to take advantage of increased demand in the run-up to the stamp duty surcharge on investment properties, which comes into force in April.
Leaf said: “If those sellers now stay in the market, prices will decline because of reduced demand.”